Surrey disappoint the history men

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reports from the Oval

Essex 271-6 Surrey 210-9 Essex win by 61 runs

The sun shone but it still rained on Surrey's parade yesterday. Surrey heroes of the past were at the ground as part of the club's 150th anniversary celebrations. In the interval, after Essex's breathless innings, they circled the perimeter, more than 40 great players from vintage Surrey years, including Bedser, Edrich, Gover, McIntyre, Stewart, Knight, Edwards, Storey, Willis and Clinton.

But for all the air of celebration, these old stars are light years away from the black hole that is swallowing up the present Surrey side's season. Bottom of the County Championship, their summer is rapidly disintegrating amid discontent. This 61-run defeat, in front of a large crowd, leaves them marooned in midtable of the Sunday League, and can only have made things worse.

Essex made it look so easy as they coasted to their fifth Sunday League win of the summer. To begin with Paul Prichard, the Essex captain, who was later unable to take the field because of a finger injury, smashed the Surrey attack all around the ground.

He and his fellow opener Mark Waugh took Essex to 50 in just 32 thumping deliveries, their partnership realising 123 runs. Prichard continued at breakneck speed and reached his fourth half century in the Sunday League this season off just 35 balls.

He slowed down after that and was eventually out for 78, having hit a six and 12 fours. Nasser Hussain then took up the fight, and cruised classily to an unbeaten 68.

Then it was the turn of the Essex bowlers. They needed no help for the first wicket. Darren Bicknell was run out thanks to Waugh's marksmanship from short midwicket. Alistair Brown burned briefly but Ronnie Irani extinguished his effort.

Alex Tudor, who at 17 is one of Surrey's rising stars, ensured that the tail blazed for a moment, but by then Mark Ilott had come on with a burst of four for six in 13 balls to snuff out Surrey's lingering hopes.